The Pirates were not about to let an opportunity to make program history fall by the wayside.
Cage Brokens accounted for three touchdowns, Blaize Brown tossed a pair of scoring passes and ran for another, Bryler Shurtliff contributed with a pick-six and a TD catch and No. 1 West Side thumped No. 3 Firth 39-0 in the 2A state championship football game on Saturday at Madison High School in Rexburg, Idaho.
In the process, the Pirates (11-0) captured back-to-back state titles for the first time in school history. It’s West Side’s seventh state championship as it also reigned supreme in 1980, 1983, 2004, 2010, 2014 and 2019. Additionally, this is the third time the Pirates have gone undefeated, joining the ’83 and ’14 squads.
This is West Side’s fourth state title since Tyson Moser took over as head coach prior to the 2009 campaign. The Pirates, who have only lost two games in a three-season span, are 107-23 with Moser at the helm.
Simply put, the Pirates dominated the Cougars (8-4) on both ends of the field. West Side’s offense was efficient running and passing the ball, and the defense notched its sixth shutout of the season and 10th during its program-record 21-game winning streak. West Side’s defense, which forced five turnovers Saturday, allowed a measly 5.0 points per game during the 2020 campaign.
The Pirates found paydirt on their first two possessions of the contest and never looked back en route to their second blowout victory over the Cougars this season. West Side dispatched of Firth 33-6 on the road in the season opener for both teams.
Additionally, the Pirates have beaten the Cougars six consecutive times and improved to 11-4 against their rivals since 2010. West Side, which scored at least one touchdown in every quarter Saturday, improved to 4-1 in state championship games during that timespan.
Broken found paydirt with his feet from 4 and 11 yards out, and hauled in a 52-yard scoring bomb from Brown to give the Pirates a 13-0 lead in the first quarter.
Brown connected with Shurtliff on a 43-yard scoring strike midway through the second quarter, and put the exclamation point on West Side’s 21st consecutive win with a 62-or-so-yard pick-six midway through the fourth quarter.
Brown, who threw for 131 yards in the opening half, finished with 19 touchdown passes this season. The junior bulled his way into the end zone from 1 yard out in the fourth quarter to cap off his impressive performance.
West Side outgained Firth 245-32 in the first half en route to taking a 19-0 advantage into the locker room. It was a balanced first two quarters for the Pirates offensively as they gained 131 yards through the air and 124 on the ground.
West Side’s final offensive touchdown was highlighted by a double pass. Brokens caught a pass from Brown, threw it back to Brown, who found Cristian Plancarte for an explosive play inside the Firth 10-yard line.
The Pirates got a pair interceptions from standout linebacker Taze Stegelmeier — the second on the final play of the contest — and one from Andrew Olinger.